Three years ago, Olympian Usain Bolt of Jamaica set a world record for fastest 100-meter dash, clocking in at an impressive 9.58 seconds -- impressive for a human, that is. But when compared to an 11-year-old cheetah named Sarah who was recently given her own chance to seize that mantel, the speediest member of our species seems rather tortoise-esque.
While it's well-known that cheetahs are the planet's fastest runners, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 75 mph, the good folks at the Cincinnati Zoo decided to put their cats up to the rigors of our track and field trials. On June 20, Sarah proved the fastest of the cheetahs, completing the 100-meter dash in an astonishing 5.95 seconds -- the quickest time ever recorded.
The zoo's cat ambassador, Cathryn Hilker, who helped raise many of the cheetahs from cubs, beams like any athlete's proud mother would:
"Nobody can run like Sarah," she tells National Geographic. "She's special. I always knew she could run under six seconds, but to see it happen like this is wonderful."